Here we are, there is always a certain bittersweetness about completing a project. And for me, this one was an eye-opener. It challenged not only my world view but my view of my own country and our history. But that is what history is supposed to do, challenge us to learn from the past and see how we can change the future. And here is the trouble with history, we can only see it through the eyes of those who wrote it and our personal bias. And trust me, it is hard to overcome your own bias. But the biggest problem with history that isRead More →

One of the first History courses I took in High School was Canada in the 20th Century. Most Canadian history texts that are used in schools start at this point. And there’s no surprise. As a nation, Canada came into its own in the 20th Century. Many point the crucible of World War One as the focal point. Others state the post World War Two era leading up to the 100th Anniversary of Confederation. But everything that happened in the 20th Century built on what happened before and the sins of the past were going to come back to haunt. As Canada emerged from theRead More →

The term Dominion within the British Empire was not new. England first used the term to describe its relationship with Wales, much to the chagrin of the Welsh. But in the new Canadian context, Dominion would be a new concept. Canada was not a Province of the greater Empire, nor was she fully independent. A Dominion was a grey area, autonomous in all domestic concerns, but in the greater world, she remained sub-servant to England. In a nutshell, this meant that the Governor-General represented not only the interests of the Crown and the British Parliament, and Canada could neither send or receive ambassadors from foreignRead More →

If you’re wondering what everything has been leading up to this is it, we’re in the end game now. The road to Canadian Confederation is a long and rough one, with many false starts, failures to push through and roadblocks along the way. From the cause for political reform in the 1820s the rebellions of the 1830s. In through the victory of reform in the 1840s and the rocky roads in the 1850s. The threats to Canadian territory through invasion or annexation, it all leads to this, confederation. Despite the momentum in the aftermath of the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences in 1864, the passage ofRead More →

If you ever get the chance to visit Quebec City, take the opportunity. Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, but it also intersects with many of the significant events that would go one to shape Canada throughout history. From the establishment of the first French settlement in what would become Canada, to the fall of French Rule on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The Quebec Conference of 1866 to the other Quebec Conferences at the climax of the Second World War that planned out the invasion of fortress Europe. While often overlooked or merged with the Charlottetown Conference,Read More →

Of the four fathers of confederation, I’ve explored in these blog posts the one with the strangest story, and the youngest in both age and political experience is Thomas D’Arcy McGee. Born the 13th of April 1825 in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. Raised by Irish Roman Catholic Patriots, much of his early education came from his mother, who as a Dublin Bookseller filled McGee with the stories of the Irish heroes of old. His knowledge continued in the illegal Hedge Schools where he learned of the past and ongoing struggles for Irish independence from British Occupation. His experience continued when his family moved to WexfordRead More →

There is a great deal of wisdom in the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America; I am talking about the line of text that reads, in order to form a more perfect union. The 1850s had been rough on the state of the Canadian government, and as the decade turned, it looked like it was not going to be getting any better. The scandals that rocked the governments of Sir Francis Hincks and Sir Allan Napier MacNab had damaged the reputation of the Liberal-Conservatives and even trickled down into the Reform movement as well. But things looked a little better whenRead More →

Across the British Commonwealth and in Canada specifically, no other British monarch is as widely celebrated at Queen Victoria. Secondly only to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for the length of her reign. The two queens share a lot in common beyond familial relations. Both never expected to take the throne, born Alexandria Victoria on the 24th of May 1819, daughter of Prince Edward Augustus and grand-daughter to King George III. At birth, Victoria sat fifth in the line of succession to the British throne. At only a year old, both her father and grandfather passed, leaving Victoria in the care of her over-protective mother.Read More →

Sir Francis Hincks, the proverbial third wheel in the reform movement and a figure that I knew nothing of until I started researching for this project. And while generally overshadowed by the likes of his predecessor in Robert Baldwin and his successor Sir Allan Napier MacNab as Premier of the Province of Canada his role in creating the modern province is fairly essential. The meeting of Robert Baldwin and Louis La Fontaine may have never happened if it was not for Hincks. Born the 4th of December 1807 in Cork Ireland, Francis was the youngest son of Reverend Thomas Dix Hincks. From his youth, HincksRead More →

The strange part about the arrival of democracy or somewhat responsible government in Canada is that it was not something won by force of arms or through negotiation; instead this first step towards self-government and limited autonomy is one that was granted to the provinces of the Empire in a change of public opinion. By 1848, it no longer made sense to hold onto the empire in the manner that still dated to the 18th Century, even though the Colonial Office and Parliament had tried hard for many years. You have to remember the 1840 Act of Union still found it’s foundation in the 1791Read More →